1716: Why IT Needs Closer Collaboration Between Business and Academia

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Alois Reitbauer, VP, Chief Technical Strategist, and Head of Innovation Lab at Dynatrace, returns to Tech Talks Daily to discuss how forging stronger links between business and academia will drive the next wave of digital innovation. Alois has 20 years of software experience, starting as a developer before moving into tech strategy. Passionate about all things tech, he is also a co-chair for the App Delivery Special Interest Group for the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation). In his role as Head of Innovation Lab at Dynatrace, Alois is responsible for Dynatrace Research, which has a team made up of academic researchers from the University of Linz, Austria, and passionate software experts from Dynatrace, to spearhead research into future technologies that can solve the challenges facing the most advanced use cases for modern data systems. He shares why he believes this approach exemplifies the broader need for the IT industry to champion closer collaboration between business and academia, covering: Accelerating innovation – 89% of CIOs say digital transformation has accelerated, and 58% believe it will continue to speed up. However, organisations are struggling to keep up with this fast-paced innovation. Partnering with academia can help bring new knowledge, fresh thinking, and novel ways of working into a business to help accelerate the charge towards new digital frontiers. However, these partnerships are often viewed as a CSR initiative rather than being a core part of the R&D process, which limits their potential.

Forging stronger links – Alois believes academic partnerships can drive more meaningful impact if they sit firmly within the business. This helps provide more direction and enables academic partners to dedicate research efforts to solving current or pressing business challenges, which can’t be done in a classroom. Organisations should create joint innovation teams, including university researchers, developers, and other business stakeholders, with practical knowledge of the company’s systems, processes, and vision.

Think fast, build fast, learn fast – With access to real-world business experience and first-hand knowledge of the challenges organisations are trying to solve, academics can create solutions that truly change the world instead of developing a theory that takes years to be tested. This can help foster a ‘think fast, build fast, fail fast’ mentality that accelerates the pace of digital innovation and drives the next wave of transformation.

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